Feds seek DNA samples to investigate thefts of 130 guns

AP News
|
Posted: May 05, 2016 3:41 PM

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal authorities are seeking a DNA sample — along with hair samples and fingerprints — from at least one suspect as they continue investigating the theft of 130 guns from firearms dealers in several Georgia cities.

Investigators want to compare the DNA of Jameel Drinkard with evidence from the thefts, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent wrote in search warrant documents filed this week in U.S. District Court. Evidence recovered by investigators includes hair found near a glass display case at one of the businesses, investigators said.

Drinkard is in custody in Rome, Georgia, where a pre-trial conference is set for May 19. He's one of seven suspects indicted on federal charges following thefts in Athens, Dalton, LaGrange and other cities.

In one of the burglaries, some of the suspects smashed their way into Gold N Pawn in Monroe by driving a stolen car into the front door, according to an indictment. In others, they broke glass doors to gain entry, prosecutors said.

The crime spree included seven thefts from October to December.

Surveillance video is also being used to try and match some of the evidence to suspects. Video from the Thompson break-in, for instance, showed a suspect in short sleeves near a glass display. Police recovered a hair near the glass display, and investigators believe it came from the suspect seen wearing short sleeves, a court affidavit states.

"Security video from the Athens Pawn Shop showed the perpetrators of the burglary on Nov. 18, 2015 touch certain items within the store," investigators wrote in the affidavit. "Police were able to recover fingerprints from some of the items that the perpetrators touched."

Some of the stolen firearms have been sold to unknown buyers, prosecutors said.

Law officers in Pearl, Mississippi, found three of the stolen guns in the possession of three suspects, along with three ski masks, bolt cutters and a box of ammunition, authorities wrote in court records.

The seven suspects, who are all from Atlanta, have pleaded not guilty.

Attorney Giles Jones, who represents one of the defendants, said Thursday that he's still reviewing the government's evidence, which is voluminous.

Lawyers for the other defendants either declined to comment or didn't respond to phone and email messages left Thursday.